Blinken meets Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Riyadh

US Secretary of State is on his fifth trip to the Middle East since October 7

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman meets US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, in Riyadh. EPA
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US Secretary of State Antony Blinken met Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Riyadh on Monday as part of a tour of the Middle East.

Mr Blinken, who will also travel to Egypt, Qatar, Israel and the occupied West Bank, is trying to prevent the Israel-Gaza war from spilling further into the wider region in his fifth diplomatic tour since the October 7 attacks on Israel.

Prince Mohammed and Mr Blinken discussed issues including “regional co-ordination to achieve an enduring end to the crisis in Gaza” and “the importance of building a more integrated and prosperous region”, State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said.

This latest diplomatic push comes as Mr Blinken tries to help allies coalesce around a deal between Israel and Hamas that would lead to hostages being released in exchange for a weeks-long truce.

The US has been reluctant to call for a ceasefire even as the death toll in Gaza has passed more than 27,200.

Hamas is said to be reviewing the proposal.

On Friday, Washington struck Iran-backed militia sites in Iraq and Syria after three US soldiers were killed in a drone attack at a remote base in Jordan.

And in the Red Sea, the Houthi rebels continue to attack commercial ships despite the US and allied nations launching attacks against them in Yemen.

“The Secretary and Crown Prince also discussed the urgent need to reduce regional tensions, including a cessation of Houthi attacks undermining both freedom of navigation in the Red Sea and progress on the Yemen peace process,” Mr Miller said.

Updated: February 06, 2024, 6:35 AM